What’s the fuss about Pride parades?

by dirchansky Introduction

Sexuality and gender are two of the most important aspects of a person’s identity. They are so important, in fact, that they shape how others perceive us and whether they approve and accept who we are. There are many stories, fictional or based on real circumstances, that describe the rising conflicts when expressions of identity outside of the norm become visible. Rarely though are we concerned with the opposite situation. Imagine what happens when something that you see as a fundemental aspect of yourself is invisible. 

Chapter One: A non-existing existance

by NORICONeko-kun: I came to the realization that I like the same sex in my early teens, around 11-13 years ago. At the time, it was hard to see a homosexual on television [1] or read about such a person in a book, let alone meet someone in real life -even if I had the opportunity, my parents would most probably try to keep me away from that person. LGBT people existed but they were out of my reach.

I remember going to bookstores, completely peniless, and checking out many books on teenage psychology and sexuality, hoping that I’d find references on homosexuality. Of course, crossdressing and trangenderism were out of the question, simply because greek literature contained zero information about them. [2] That is, perhaps, one of the reasons why it took me so long to contain into words why I didn’t feel good to be called or be perceived as a man.

Though there were many concerns in my life, sexuality was the main one. I was worried about a future career, I needed to find a way to make drawing my life, but my body was in real need for answers -intellectual, supportive and honest ones. The only place I could find those answers was the internet.

Back in my teen days, I did not own a PC -my first time using one was when I got to the age of 19. I bought my own personal computer just a year and a half ago. That meant that my time online was limited. There I found a plethora of information, but I didn’t know what to consider dependable and what not. I ran across websites that propagandized that “being gay is a choice (and you can change)”, others that told me that it was just a sexual orientation, as normal as heterosexuality. My other sources were the various chat rooms, where much older men were… tryng to “educate me” on homosexuality. I’d say none of these choices offered me anything good. I was thirsty in the middle of a desert, with the paths to water shut down or well hidden.

[animepaper.net]picture-standard-artists-h2so4-rainbow-fox-girl-177090-nat-preview-c11fc7f8Foxy Lady: I didn’t realize my bisexuality until my early twenties. Although I had some crushes on best friends when I was a pupil or even high schooler, I couldn’t interprete my infatuation with certain girls as anything but ‘clinging on girl friends’ and I wouldn’t dare to do otherwise under the strict, homophobic gaze of my parents. After all, I still wanted boys badly and had a thing for two of my high school professors -but the latter proved to be just me seeking a paternal figure. I’ve also unearthed a hazy memory from when I hadn’t gone to primary yet in which I played with my Barbie dolls and in absense of Ken I wedded them and I don’t remember to have felt any guilt about it.

My only “positive” information about lgbt people at the beginning of senior high and university were anime, which is, needless to say, not a proper source about such serious issues. With fast internet speed and my own laptop during university years, things changed radically. Things are still tough for me though as I live on a not that small, not that big island that has no LGBTQ organization. I know of a gay club or two, but they’re clubs which are mostly frequented by men wanting to get drunk and laid or wanting to attend a drag queen show. A more date-friendly place for lesbians does not exist here. Dating is of little concern for me now, though. I have no supportive network which I can call a ‘family’ that understands me and that is willing to help and prepare me on what to expect and how to help myself and my partner with my partner’s wish to transition. My friends are open-minded and all but they don’t have any experience to share and they may cause me more confusion towards my feelings about the whole situation.

Last year I had to face the fear of being fired due to my beliefs and I was actually bullied by my students when they decided to ask me about homosexuality and transgenderism and persuade me that they weren’t normal. I went through awful questions where I was supposed to chose between going out with another woman or dying and I had to stand my ground against all the homophobic and transphobic ‘arguments’ one could compile. Ι was afraid that a student would talk about the matter with its parents and cause me trouble. I tried to improvise a hypothetical conversation with my boss to defend myself without lying and without having to expose myself to harm.

And then we have the every day microaggressions: my father talking about those “abnormal ones” or even those “faggots in the soul” and about how important (cishet) family is as an institution and all the rest emetic stuff about how “the New World Order wants to destroy everything” and how we’ll “end up having sex like animals in the streets”, etc. Then, you hear from your boss’ wife that “the Britons present our ancient Greeks as gay” and she totally hasn’t read Plato’s Symposium, but she wants desperately her children to learn about the ‘glorious history of our ancestors’, while in schools Kavafi’s poetry is surrounded by mockery or, at best, disregard towards his homosexuality. Lastly, the “National Council for Radio and TV” fines any homoerotic kiss while letting stereotypical gender/sexual figures and depictions live on, since for them we are a laughing stock.

—->

Footnotes

[1] There were some gay individuals, but they were a. all closeted, b. all fitted into stereotypes of what it meant to be gay. That was one of the reasons why many people made fun of them. In a way, I believe, their existence acted as a way for society to further isolate the LGBTQI minority.

[2] That’s true for mainstream literature. One should take into consideration that smaller, local bookstores never had any specialized, independent publication written from LGBTQI people or organizations.

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2 thoughts on “What’s the fuss about Pride parades?

  1. I just wanted to say: thanks for sharing your stories. I found them to be incredibly moving and inspiring. As someone who is becoming increasingly more conscious of gender and LGBT issues, I appreciate your open-mindedness and your honesty.

    Like

    • Thanks a lot for your comment! It’s always great when people give a second thought to such matters. The world then seems to come ever so close and it gives us smile. You’re always welcome here!

      Like

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